Easter On The Port
  |  First Published: April 2005

The 500lb chocolate-bearing rabbit has done his Easter thing, leaving us serious anglers to enjoy some stable weather on the port. It seems the snapper are taking a leaf out of my book by making a slow recovery from the annual Easter gorge, because as most anglers will agree, they have been unusually quiet lately. Hopefully they will return to feed like they did when they entered Western Port in November.

Thankfully, the number of whiting captures has overshadowed the lack of snapper action. Big whiting have been taken in the deep channels near Joe’s Island and Middle Spit. The Westernport Angling Club’s annual Whiting Challenge was held mid-March and details of the competition will be covered next month.

Land-based anglers have been spoiled lately with Stockyard Point and Tenby Point fishing well for gummies and elephants. The rocks of Settlement Point near Corinella are worth a special mention due to the number of pinkies to 5lb being landed. This area can only be fished on a falling tide when the rocky outcrop becomes exposed.

Surf anglers have had mixed results lately with some finding schools of salmon to 4lb while others have been missing out. The big winter gummies will soon be about after dark and my fishing diary shows April and May to be consistent months for gummies of 5-6kg. I can’t wait for my winter surf sessions - I’m a real sucker for a shark on the beach.

Back inside the port, Tortoise Heads has been a productive area for elephants with many boats reaching bag limits within an hour. The standard rig consists of a running sinker, 1m of 30lb trace and a 3/0 octopus hook. One of the keys to success lies in the elephant’s responsiveness to berley. Some berley pellets mixed with a splash of tuna oil and mashed pilchards will help dramatically. The important part is to hold the fishy concoction where the baits are by keeping it on the bottom in a heavy pot; simply throwing the berley over the side of the boat will just let it wash away in the port’s strong currents.

While we are on the subject of elephants, I feel it is time to pay homage to the elephant guru himself, George Rath. ‘Rathie’ has been working in the fishing industry since the ice age and we were deeply saddened when he announced his recent retirement. George was a colleague of ours at Cranbourne Fishing Tackle and he will be sorely missed. Well mate, I guess you’ll have plenty of time to chase elephants with your beloved MPSS rods after all.

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